With some of the country’s biggest coal-fired power stations having produced their last electricity this year, and a large proportion of the UK’s nuclear power generators currently out of service due to faults or repairs, the gap between the capacity in the system and expected demand is the smallest it has been in seven years, National Grid admitted this morning.
Last winter, the system had just five per cent spare capacity at the peak for demand, and this year it had expected to be running with between five and 10 per cent.
But that was before the problems emerged with the nuclear supply network.
And while Cordi O’Hara, director of market operations at National Grid, admitted that supply margins were tighter than in recent years, “the outlook remains manageable and well within the reliability standard set by the government.”
National Grid’s forecast about prospects for this winter came soon after the privatised power networks supplier revealed that new software the company installed to help it control New York’s power network could cost it as much as $1billion (£620miilion) – more than two-and-a-half times the amount originally budgeted for.
Ed Davey, the energy secretary, told the Telegraph on Sunday that the lights would not go out, thanks to a series of emergency measures, which also include paying businesses to cut usage at peak times.